Over the past 15 years, the healthcare industry has seen a dramatic shift in end-of-life planning trends. As they’re often part of their patient’s decision, hospice care providers are particularly aware of which after-life options are popular.
In the past two decades, hospice workers have seen religious beliefs, financial restraints, and environmental concerns impact cremation rates, which have more than doubled, surpassing the rate of traditional burials significantly. Now, they’re seeing the start of what is sure to become the next trend: The lesser-known but rapidly growing trend of “body donation.”
Whole body donation is the gift of the entire body to science. It supports medical research, education, and training that touches virtually every level of medical care. It supports new, less invasive surgical techniques, enables medical device manufacturers to develop technology that gives the gift of regained mobility or hearing, and helps perfect the pharmaceuticals that aid in the treatment of disease and cancer.
As the nation’s accredited leader in body donation, Science Care works with hospices and hospitals all over the country to facilitate donations, and has seen firsthand how it impacts patients, their families, and their care providers.
Science Care formed its HOPE Program to serve the terminally ill population with the understanding that many nearing the end of their life are considering the impact they’ll leave on the world behind them. More importantly, they often want to ensure their family’s peace of mind during what they know will be a devastating time. Science Care ensures patients know exactly what process their family will go through after they pass. With the HOPE Program, all hospice and/or terminally ill patients who choose body donation as an option will undergo a brief screening process, and are then enrolled into the program. Much of the paperwork is completed immediately, easing the burden and stress on the family at the time of need. Science Care steps in immediately after the time of passing, so hospice workers can focus on helping to heal the family. It also takes care of transportation, filing of the death certificate, cremation, and then returning the cremated remains to the family.
Science Care invites healthcare professionals dealing with end-of-life planning to learn more about whole body donation by calling (800) 417-3747, scheduling an in-service or webinar with a Community Relations Manager, or by visiting the Science Care website. As the industry has seen, end-of-life wishes are evolving, and Science Care hopes to give hospice providers another, powerful option to present to patients as an alternative to a traditional burial or cremation.
Katrina Hernandez is Vice President of Donor Services for Science Care.